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Born Aixone, Athens (now Glyfada)
Died 357
Allegiance (Ancient) Athens
Battles/wars Social War

Chabrias (Greek: Χαβρίας) was a celebrated Athenian general of the 4th century BC.

Early life[edit]

He was from Aixone.


In 388 BC he defeated the Spartans and Aeginetans under Gorgopas at Aegina and commanded the fleet sent to assist Evagoras, king of Cyprus, against the Persians.[1]

In 378, when Athens entered into an alliance with Thebes against Sparta, he successfully faced off the more numerous forces of Agesilaus II near Thebes. At the advance of Agesilaus' forces, instead of giving the order to charge, Chabrias famously ordered his men at ease–with the spear remaining pointing upwards instead of towards the enemy, and the shield leaning against the left knee instead of being hoisted against the shoulder. The command was followed immediately and without question by the mercenaries under his command, to be copied by their counterparts beside them, the elite Sacred Band of Thebes under the command of Gorgidas. This "show of contempt" stopped the advancing Spartan forces, and shortly afterwards Agesilaus withdrew.[2]

In 376 he gained a decisive victory over the Spartan fleet off Naxos, but, when he might have destroyed the Spartan fleet, remembering the fate of the generals at Arginusae, he delayed to pick up the bodies of his dead. Later, when the Athenians changed sides and joined the Spartans, he repulsed Epaminondas before the walls of Corinth.

In 376–75 the Triballi under the command of king Hales crossed Mount Haemus and advanced as far as Abdera, nearly destroying the city until Chabrias negotiated peace between the Triballi and the king of Maronea, winning over the Triballi to the Athenian side.[3]

In 366, he and Callistratus were accused of treachery in advising the surrender of Oropus to the Thebans. He was acquitted, and soon after he accepted a command under Teos, king of Egypt, who was defending his country against Persian reconquest. But on the outbreak of the Social War (357), he joined Chares in the command of the Athenian fleet. He lost his life in an attack on the island of Chios.


  1. ^ Xenophon (1890s), Hellenica, H. G. Dakyns 
  2. ^ Mark H. Munn (1993). The Defense of Attica: The Dema Wall and the Boiotian War of 378-375 B.C. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0520076853. 
  3. ^ Irina Florov; Nicholas Florov (2001). Three-thousand-year-old hat. Golden Vine Publishers. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-9688487-0-8. 


  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  • Anderson, J. K. (1963). "The Statue of Chabrias". American Journal of Archaeology 67 (4): 411–413. doi:10.2307/501624. 
  • Bianco, Elisabetta (2000). "Chabrias Atheniensis". Rivista Storica dell’ Antichità 30: 47–72. 
  • Burnett, Anne Pippin & Edmonson, Collin N. (1961). "The Chabrias monument in the Athenian Agora". Hesperia 30 (1): 74–91. doi:10.2307/147322. 
  • Pritchett, W. Kendrick (1974). The Greek State at War 2. London: University of California Press. pp. 72–77. ISBN 0-520-02565-2.